By Tim Frye
As with any business that is conducted in an independent contractor type fashion, it takes a tremendous amount of drive and resilience to be successful as a self-employed tax preparer. In addition to the normal difficulties faced by any person competing in our hyper-competitive global economy, tax preparers face the incredible challenge of seasonal work, and the everlasting question: what do I do to support myself once tax season ends?
In this article, we’ll give you some ideas of additional certifications that you can obtain to increase your earning potential as a tax preparer not only during tax season but in the off-season as well.
Become a Notary Public
It seems like the majority of income tax businesses also offer other services along the business periphery, one of the main ones being the notarization of documents. It is extremely beneficial for a tax preparer to concurrently be a licensed notary public, and that is one way you can substantiate your seasonal income during the offseason.
Yes, it’s true you are only permitted by law to charge ten dollars a signature, in house. So in the majority of situations, you will not exactly be raking in the dough by becoming a notary public. However, remember too that you will be interacting with people and providing a valuable service as a respected member of the community—this will bring you more tax clients over time as people meet you and come to trust you and respect the way you work.
Remember, too, that the $10 per signature fee limit does not include jobs that are mobile. This is where being a traveling notary can pay off. Loan officers, real estate brokers, and lawyers often provide a pretty good outside market for those notaries who are ambitious and proficient in self-marketing mobile notary services.
Everyone will need a notary public at some point and when you are the reliable and convenient choice, you may find that becoming a notary really pays off in the long-run to increase your earnings as a tax preparer.
Become a Tax Blogger
One of the most effective ways to learn something is to teach it.
And the more you know about taxes, the more you will be able to help your clients and beat the competition, which means charging more clients more money for your services.
Blogging about taxes and offering tax advice, or maybe just proselytizing your tax experience through the years, can help those in the public looking to get into the profession and in turn can help you build up your reservoir of tax knowledge.
Again, you’re not going to be raking in huge amounts of money by blogging, but you will be surprised how opportunities seem to come your way when you are offering the public tax knowledge and advice that is reliable and accurate (and saves people money).
You can start your own tax blog for free with a service like Blogger.com from Google.
Although it is certainly not an easy process in gaining certification, becoming an Enrolled Agent can be a very effective boost to your income from tax preparation, but also from a field of work that is variously called tax debt settlement, tax resolution, or helping people dig themselves out of tax problem holes.
An Enrolled Agent is authorized to practice before the IRS, which means you can represent a client who is being audited, or “examined,” by the IRS. And these days, there is definitely a gigantic pool of people who being examined more and more every day, and that’s not just by the TSA. (That’s actually an attempt at humor in case it went over your head.)
As an E.A., you will be able to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
Taxpayers who have IRS problems are often willing to pay good money to have someone else deal with the IRS on their behalf. And again, there is no shortage of people who have IRS problems and need major help. Thus the proliferation of these 1-800 type tax resolution companies that advertise all over the television and Internet.
Note to self: when companies spend tons of money advertising a service, that means that these companies are making tons of money from this service.
Here is the link to the IRS page about how to become an Enrolled Agent, if you’re interested in such as thing.
Here’s one more idea to increase your earnings, get on our Pronto Tax Class Mailing List so that you can keep a sharp eye out for our upcoming books and courses and websites dedicated to keeping you one of the most educated and well-paid tax preparers in the game.